Thinking Strategically


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With Thursday’s webinar on Building a Comprehensive Digital Measurement Strategy in the books, Webinarmaggedon is officially over. I enjoyed all of them – and with so much practice I’m getting more comfortable talking into a speakerphone in an empty room. It’s pretty obvious to me now why Talk Radio shows nearly all have co-hosts or teams or sidekicks or callers. It’s way easier (and more fun) to go back and forth and interact than it is to talk into empty space. Which is why the IBM webinar on Choosing a Digital Big Data Technology Stack with Krishnan Parasuraman (CTO of IBM’s Big Data Group), was probably my favorite of the whole bunch. Not only is Krishnan a pro (he’s really good), we opted to do that webinar in a more conversational open-ended style. If you have any interest in the topic (or are just a sucker for a good webinar), check that one out.

Practice doesn’t always make perfect, however. In last Thursday’s webinar with Cognizant, we lost Dorian Regester right at the beginning of the Webinar to some kind of phone glitch and we didn’t get him back till about a 1/3 of the webinar was done. Ouch! So if you want a bit of a laugh, check out the first few minutes of the webinar when I realize ( a tad slowly – or maybe it just felt that way) that I’ve lost my co-presenter. But stay with it, because it actually turned out pretty well.

Tis the Season…to build a Real Digital Measurement Strategy

Since we’re coming to the close of 2012 it seems to me there’s no better time to revisit your digital measurement strategy. The turning of the year is a natural time to think about where you’re headed and where you’ve come from. And a good strategy will encompass both those things.

One of the points I tried to hammer home in the webinar and last week’s blog is that a digital strategy isn’t, primarily, about people, process and technology. While there’s no denying that people, process and technology are a core part of ANY business or program (from digital measurement to running a doughnut shop), figuring out the people, process and technology piece doesn’t mean you have a strategy.

A strategy is a plan for directing those resources to some end.

And since the people, process and technology you need are dependent on the plan and the end, there’s no such thing as a “best-practice” plan around those elements. You build the strategy, at least in part, so that you can make intelligent decisions about people, process and technology.

So how do you build a real digital strategy? There are plenty of activities and disciplines for which the strategy is obvious (I suggested losing weight as a good example of a challenging problem with an obvious strategy), but I don’t think digital analytics is like that at all (and no, hiring good people and giving them good technology isn’t a plan – it just means you’re punting on the problem and hoping those “good” people can find a plan). There are a host of important problems in digital measurement that face ANY enterprise; deciding which ones to tackle and in what order will determine the right mix of people and technology you need. But identifying those problems, prioritizing them and knowing what you need to solve them are all non-trivial issues.

A Strategy for Building a Strategy

At Semphonic, we’ve evolved a process that I think works pretty well. It flows across six steps that gradually evolve into a full strategic plan:

  1. An objective assessment of the current state of your enterprise digital measurement system
  2. Creating a model of the digital business and the measurement gaps
  3. Building a framework for optimization within each measurement problem
  4. Identifying the methodology necessary to implement each piece of the framework
  5. Identifying the technology and data necessary to implement each methodology
  6. Prioritizing the problems (and, with them, the solutions) and allocating budget according to the priorities

You can abstract the digital measurement language from this and the process is as simple as:

General Approach to Strategy

The “strategic” part comes in at two different places: identifying what’s missing/needed and prioritizing the problems vs. cost. The rest, frankly, is all technical. It has to be done and it takes very knowledgeable measurement professionals to do it, but it doesn’t require any strategic thinking.

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to work through this process step-by-step and show samples of some recent deliverables that embody this process.

First up in that process is creating an objective assessment of the current state of digital measurement at your enterprise. The key word there is objective. Our goal has been to create a complete system for assessing the state of an enterprise digital measurement program across a number of critical dimensions with specific evaluation criteria backed-up by industry opinion research.

It’s pretty cool stuff and it’s one of my favorite things to present these days.

You can jump ahead (by checking out the webinar) or you can wait till after T-Day for the full read!

Happy Thanksgiving!

[And speaking of “strategy,” with Black Friday almost upon us, I thought I’d provide a quick shopping tip for all the Web analysts (and their clever kids) on your list. Semphonic’s own Greg Powers (Excel and Tableau Wiz) has a second career as a game-designer. He and his brother created a really cool game called Pizza Theory.

It’s simple, fast (2-3 people and about 15 minutes), totally strategic, and very fun. We aren’t fanatic gamers at my house, but we do play recreationally and Pizza Theory is one of our favorites. It’s the world’s most perfect accompaniment to a family pizza party and one of the easiest (to learn not master) and cleverest games I’ve ever played. Check it out!]

Webinarmaggedon Wrap-up

Awhile back I posted on a the “Perfect Storm” of Whitepapers Semphonic is releasing. Over the last month and this, that’s resulted in a Perfect Storm of Webinars. So I’ve just put together a handy little list with links to everything…enjoy!

Whitepaper(s) to follow…

Download the Accompanying Whitepaper

Download the Accompanying Whitepaper

and while the webinar may have been just passed when I created this list, you can still read the very recent Whitepaper on Digital Merchandising for Multi-Product (List and Aisle) Pages with Cloudmeter.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Gary Angel
Gary is the CEO of Digital Mortar. DM is the leading platform for in-store customer journey analytics. It provides near real-time reporting and analysis of how stores performed including full in-store funnel analysis, segmented customer journey analysis, staff evaluation and optimization, and compliance reporting. Prior to founding Digital Mortar, Gary led Ernst & Young's Digital Analytics practice. His previous company, Semphonic, was acquired by EY in 2013.


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